Richard Discusses His Unique anOrdain Model 2, And The Process to Bring It To Life
It’s a story of "yes, but could you…?" and the journey that follows this initial question.
We’ve all come to this point where we see a watch, like a watch, but have that little tiny detail that somehow feels a bit out of place, or that we would have imagined differently… Today, it’s the story of a man and his tendency to always challenge the existing, to come and ask the brands if there’s a way to change that little detail, to make the watch better to his eyes, more personal, more HIS watch. Richard (@mymese on Instagram) is a 53-year-old mobility data expert from Holland who has a preference for unusual watches, not necessarily the brands that everyone wants. Today, he discusses his special anOrdain Model 2, and this watch is HIS watch, a unique take that turns out to be very personal.
Frank Geelen, MONOCHROME – anOrdain is not a household name when it comes to watches. How did you discover this Scottish brand?
Richard – It must have been somewhere online. I think I ran into anOrdain almost the same moment I read about the Paulin Neo (which is a cooperation model with anOrdain). I liked the Neo very much because of its typography. I was looking for a lower budget, but special watch and the Neo was certainly on my list. The only thing I did not really like was the date window. That’s where most of my contacts with new companies start: “I like the watch very much, but could you?…“
And were they open to discussing adjustments?
I had a good conversation with the people at Paulin. They were very helpful and I was almost at a point to let them make a one-off Neo without the date window. But at that point, I realised I was missing the point a little. The Neo is a great watch at the price point. Making a special dial would make it out of balance price-wise (apart from the question if they wanted to make it). I took a better look at the anOrdain brand and knew what I had to do: sell my Sinn 556A and buy an anOrdain instead.
So what kind of brand is anOrdain?
What I like about anOrdain is the special attention they pay to the creation of the dial. Not only the enamel but also the detail of typography. This balance in the attention you see is not common in watchmaking, I think. As you can read on the website, the typography is inspired by cartographic maps of the Highlands. I work with (digital) maps in my daily life, so that is a nice touch.
But what I admire most is the personal touch. The eye for detail in the packaging, knowing exactly who made which part of your watch and last but not least: the patience they showed in answering my questions. As I already said before, my first question to a company is almost always: I like the watch but…
What were you looking for exactly?
When I first ran into anOrdain I was impressed by both the model 1 (which is a little more classic) and the model 2. I like the more field watch appearance of the model 2 better. I like to wear watches almost all day, every day, so the more rugged style works better for me.
My journey with anOrdain started when another journey stopped. A few years ago, I decided to go for a “one mechanical watch only” policy. Although I am not a real collector, I had several mechanical watches that all needed attention every now and then. I thought it would be a better idea to have one, a bit more special watch, which would be the only one that needed serious attention every few years. About that journey, which led to buying an ochs und junior mese (date), I already wrote about on another platform.
As I like the personal connection with a company, that changed when things changed at ochs und junior. With a little pain in my heart, I decided to sell my mese. My first thought was to buy a more sensitive and budget-friendly option. I think a watch at any price point, lower or higher, can be a centrepiece of your collection. I went back (I had owned a 756 of the same brand earlier) to Sinn and bought a Sinn 556A. I liked (and still like) it very much, but something was missing. I think it was the lack of personal touch. I did not really connect with it. So when I ran into first Paulin and later anOrdain, one and one got two: sell the 556 and buy my anOrdain model 2.
But you had some changes made to it?
I bought my watch directly from anOrdain, which was a great experience. Not only did I get my watch with a nice leather pouch and two straps, but they also wanted to know how I would wear my watch and how I would put it down at night. In that way, their watchmaker could regulate it to fit my use. I bought an Accuracy kit to test it and the results are very good. It is about +2 to 3 seconds a day. That means that I only have to adjust it every two weeks or so. I believe that is about chronometer accuracy.
On the site, it says there is a waiting list for all models 2.
I was lucky to be able to buy my model 2 without having to enter the current waiting list. But because of having some special wishes, I almost had to wait for one year for it to arrive. My problem was that I could not make an easy choice of the great colours. I liked the grey model 2 back then, but I also very much liked the Teal and Paris Blue Model 1. As I explained I preferred the more rugged Model 2 which should have a brushed case. I was used to wearing my ochs almost 24/7 and that should not be different with my Model 2. But there was one little thing that held me back from placing the order: I missed the second hand on the Model 2. I remember that the Sinn 756 I owned also had no running second hand and it gave the watch something “cold”. As if it is not running actively. So I had two choices: buy a Model 1 (has a second hand) or buy a Model 2 (brushed, rugged case).
But as always, there are more choices when you ask a question. I asked the people at anOrdain if by any chance there would be either a model 1 with a brushed case or a model 2 with a second hand in the near future. As you can see at the current, new model 2, the second hand was on its way, so my choice was made. That was April 2021. It would take until November for my watch to arrive and even to March this year to post my first Instagram image.
That’s because I had promised anOrdain not to reveal my model 2 to the public. I had to wait until the new model 2 was announced in March this year. Without it being my goal, my model 2 became a sort of one-off. When I made my choice for the model 2, I could not resist asking a second question: could you make a model 2 with the teal dial? The answer was not a simple yes or no. If you know something about the production process of the enamel dials, you know it is very time-consuming. Making a teal dial for a model it is not been on before would be a no-go. But I was lucky. There had been a model 2 with a teal dial made in the past. And from that special delivery, one dial was left in stock. Only the new hands, including a second hand, had to be made. But that path took a little longer.
I think the way anOrdain kind of re-invented the hands of the earlier model 2 is a great example of the amount of detail in every part of the design. It would have been much simpler to just stamp some hands, add a tip of lume to it and put them on the watch. But that’s not the anOrdain way. The new hands and the production steps that are needed to make them in this way are one of the reasons the model 2 and model 1 are much closer in price than before.
And what about the back of the watch?
On the back of the watch, there is a laser-engraving of a map. This is the map of Houten, where I currently live. In my field of work (transport planning) Houten is an example of bike-friendly and liveable city design. As I work with (digital) maps every day for my business, it is a nice way to bring these two together.
How would you describe your watch collection so far?
As I already mentioned, I am not a real watch collector. On the other hand, there are over ten watches in my watch box. Most of them have some sort of emotional value. The watches of my late father, who died over 20 years ago, take a special place in the collection. The first watch in my memory is his Avia watch. I remember that the small second hand was glued to the dial because it was broken. Some time ago I had it restored. The case got a new layer of gold and the second hand was fixed. It is a nice little watch to wear.
Another example is the Lincoln Automatic. It also was on my father’s wrist for years. This one, I only had technically repaired so it runs again. But it kept the old patina from the time my father was wearing it.
A recent addition to the collection was a steel/gold Omega Seamaster Polaris. As a student, I worked at a jewellery store in my hometown, Schoonhoven, the silver city of the Netherlands. Since then, I think for over 25 years now, there has been a Seamaster Polaris brochure in my collection. I really like the design by Gérald Genta. I always had the idea, somewhere in my mind, to buy one in real life. So when I came across a nice piece at a local watch shop, I decided to buy it. Although small for current standards, I like it a lot. The bracelet is really comfortable.
Are there any more watches on your wish list?
As probably every watch enthusiast will recognise, there is always something to like. But as priorities in life change, my anOrdain is certainly the top piece. I don’t think I will buy any more valuable pieces after this. But there are options in the watch industry at every price point. I like the idea of a chronograph. Perhaps a MoonSwatch if I can lay my hands on it. But I also like the Boldr Rally, because of the titanium case.
I also like what Nomos is doing. If I had not run into anOrdain, a Nomos Club would have been high on my list. And I still have a sweet spot for the older IWC models. I was able to visit the IWC factory over 20 years ago and got a tour from the famous Kurt Klaus himself. Perhaps someday…
Any last tips for people who like the anOrdain you have?
For people who want to have an anOrdain, they have to have a little patience. Due to big demand, there is now a waiting list that could reach over 2 years. Perhaps anOrdain will find a way to increase production. And if you want to have a piece of anOrdain influence on your wrist, the Paulin Neo is still a great option. Just read forums like the Dutch Horlogeforum, Fratello Watches and Monochrome Watches. I also like to listen to the Dutch podcast “Mannen van de tijd”. It is a nice combination of talking about watches with a Dutch style of humor. I think it is kind of like “Big Black Clock”, but because that is in English it is a bit harder to pick up on the jokes they are making.
My general tip for people who start their watch collecting journey is to make it personal. It is nice to notice that you are not a number. So choose a smaller company if possible and try to connect with them.
You can also do that by giving the watches you already own some extra attention. You probably have that first watch you ever bought. Why not have it restored and wear it now and then? Or perhaps there is a watch you could not afford earlier, but that can now be a nice piece of your collection.
Do you have any friends in the watch scene?
A good friend of mine also likes watches. It is nice to share your view on watches. His collection is a bit bigger, but we ended up with the same ochs und junior (he still has it). We made a trip to Lucerne back in 2014 to visit the ochs loft, which was a great experience. It was a good follow-up to the trip we made to Schaffhausen back in the nineties, where we visited the IWC factory, with only five people. I don’t think that is possible anymore now. We are now planning a visit to Switzerland in September. One of the options is to go back to Lucerne to visit Chronoswiss and combine that with some nice driving in the mountains around it.
AnOrdain provided the most pleasant watch buying experience I have had. They made my special order model 2 in six weeks. I was an early adopter before they had such a long wait list. I was privileged to develop a personal relationship with the owner exchanging emails and receiving a personal hand written letter from him. Not too many watch manufacturers take the time to spend their valuable time communicating with their clients. Let’s hope success allows them to expand and grow remaining responsive to their clientele.
I concur! Making a connection with a small company is such a pleasant experience. The watches from AnOrdain need to be held in the flesh to be properly understood. Wear it in good health!